I Bet I Think That Song Is About Him

Warren Beatty explains ‘You’re So Vain’ (Sort Of)

Everybody assumed Warren Beatty was at least one of the preening peacocks whom singer Carly Simon skewered in “You’re So Vain,” her 1972 pop hit.

She once dated Beatty, who believed the chorus zinger, “You’re so vain, you probably think this song is about you,” was indeed aimed at him — although he was never inclined to get into specifics about it.

Simon kept mum about her target(s), claiming the “you” in the song referred to men in general. She reversed herself last year when she released her autobiography, Boys in the Trees, admitting that Beatty was referenced in part of the song. She also said that he’d broken her heart.

Asked about this during a Toronto Star interview, Beatty gave a typically complicated answer as he implied that Simon suffers from false memory syndrome. Could we vainly hope this is his definitive response to “You’re So Vain,” Carly Simon and Boys in the Trees?

Take a deep breath and let Beatty explain in his own way:

“All I can tell you is that invented memory is a huge subject now. And I don’t want to be unkind, I think Carly Simon is a very intelligent woman, who was extremely helpful when I was deeply involved in the McGovern campaign, and she was terribly helpful with raising money through the entertainment industry, which we did at that time in an unprecedented way.

“Let me just say that from what I have read that she wrote, and I didn’t read the book, I don’t read these books, there have been close to 15 books written about me, and I will read maybe 10 pages and see how inaccurate they are, and then I think, ‘Well, why would I continue doing this? As some sort of masochistic exercise?’ I’ve never read a full one. And I’ve never co-operated with the writing of a book about me.

“When somebody writes their own book and they invent memory, however flattering it may be to me, I don’t know what to say except, ‘Hi!’

“I’ve been around. I’ve been famous for a long time. So Carly, I don’t know how to respond. I would say there is invention there that is simply not true, but that’s fine. And there’s some small amount of truth there. Not a lot, but that’s just one example of what has happened with me for a number of books. I won’t name the people, but if you name them, I would respond, let’s say.”